Some people may question the end of the novel. Did she really drown herself in the sea, if s why? Why was she leaving her husband and children behind? Is it possible for one person to be so selfish? The problem though, is that these questions are actually the answers. They are the answers to how Edna Pontellier finally received what she wanted- peace, and set herself free. In Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, the main character, Edna Pontellier searches for her identity while encountering feelings of true compassion, romantic love, and independence.
Edna is a twenty-eight year old mother and wife of Leonce Pontellier. She has never loved him and only married him because it was the right time and his affection towards her was flattering. Edna was neither pleased nor fulfilled with her husband. She felt as though she had lost her youth as well as passion once married to Leonce. Edna is an American woman from "the old Kentucky bluegrass country" (10) , and is vacationing in Grand Isle which is a common place for the rich Creole's (person of French-Spanish descent) to go. Beings that Edna is not a Creole herself, she is not accustomed to the ways or traditions of their society. Edna set aside her dreams and fantasies that only came back to reproach her through her passion for Robert.
During her vacationing, Edna meets Robert Lebrun. Because she is not a Creole she does not understand that is it normal and understandable for a married woman to enjoy the company of a single man. Edna and Robert quickly develop to an "advanced" stage of intimacy. Edna has never felt romance between her and her husband and with Robert she is beginning to experience such feelings. Edna tried to turn down invitations given to her by Robert, but often agrees. Although she feels that it is wrong, it gives her a great feeling of happiness and adventure. She often has feelings of guilt and remorse because the growing feelings she has for Robert, she knew she should have been feeling towards her husband all along.